Today, there are so many labels that people claim such as: "male," "female," "cisgender," "transgender," "straight," "gay," "millennial," "baby boomer." The list is endless. These labels oftentimes help people fit themselves into nice little boxes where they feel safe, surrounded by likeminded people.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for a little over two years. We met on the first day of freshman year of college. I've matured with him, he's matured with me (although our friends might say otherwise). And as a woman, I define myself as a feminist. Most—hopefully all—of my female friends would define themselves as feminists. So why doesn't my boyfriend? Boys are quick to joke about "meninism" without understanding what feminism means to females: equality and the wage gap isn't the only issue that affects women today. Our greatest obstacle—females' greatest obstacle, is the men who refuse to acknowledge what feminism truly is.
Now, this isn't to say that my boyfriend doesn't believe that women should have the same rights as men. He does; he believes that they should be paid equally and treated the same, yet he (in my opinion) has been swept up in some of the "why does everything have to have a label these days" mentality that some millennials still have. I label myself as a feminist, but he does not label himself in the same way. He questions why, if feminists believe in equality, that it's still acceptable for some women to expect men to pay for dates. And yes, when we first started dating, he paid all the time. But ask anyone and since then, the tab has evened out. In the end, he wants the best for me. He wants me to be able to make as much money as he can. He wants my rights to be represented in the political arena. He wants me to be able to feel safe walking alone at night. And he wants me to live a healthy, happy life doing whatever pleases me.
Relationships must be equal for them to work, and if you don't have the same ideals (like if he thinks you belong in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant) maybe it's time to end it. Unless of course, that's what you want. And if so, go girl! Have those babies! Do what you want. That's the basis of feminism—to get ladies the freedom to do what men have been doing for hundreds of years: whatever the bleep makes them happy. Equality is the name of the game.
Men tend to be scared of feminism, usually because they feel that their masculinity is being threatened. "I'm a man, these are things men do," is an extreme and archaic way of thinking. So ladies, educate your man! Feminists are not out to get them. Feminists just want your girlfriend to be happy, healthy, and safe. And boys, that's what you should want, too.